Ten things to do in your first month at a new job

Ten things to do in your first month at a new job

Back in January, I wrote a very real post about the fact that near the end of 2018 I was made redundant. It was a pretty big shock to the system but also a great opportunity to move on to something new and exciting. However, the idea of moving to a new role is pretty terrifying when you're feeling a little rejected. So one Sunday afternoon when I was sat at the dinner table with my family I asked the question 'what things do you think you should do in your first month at a new job to help you settle in a bit more?' and I was amazed at how many different responses came up that I'd never thought of. So if you're starting a new role then take 5 minutes to read through my top 10 things you should give a try:

1.  Ask for a desk plan or make your own one (where possible)
Within your first month, you will meet so many people in your office and you are never going to remember all of their names, even if you have a great memory. You can't expect everyone to wear name badges all day every day, so you have a responsibility to be proactive and know who the names of the people you need to talk to.

2. Learn how to make a good cup of tea and coffee.
I know we are in 2019 and people are very capable of making their own hot drinks; however, getting someone a cup when you begin is a great way to connect with people. Sometimes people will feel bad and will come with you to the kitchen to make their own drink (which is a great chance to get chatting), or if you've made someone a drink then they will think of you when they are making their next one. Either way, it's a nice thing to do and it definitely helps your office credit to be known as the maker of a great brew.

3. Write a note of how you're spending your time
Probationary periods can range between a month to around 6 months (depending on your title) and you are bound to cover a lot during that time. Yet any good manager will want to check in with you within the first few months to see how you're getting on. So I think it's really useful if you have a brief document listing some of the tasks that have been asked of you, and also anything that you have proactively come up with. Then when they ask you what you've been doing you've got a list

4. Introduce yourself to senior colleagues 
Speaking to people who are older and more senior than you can be incredibly daunting and not a very enjoyable experience if they aren't very receptive to your introduction. However, there are so many studies that state the number of CEO's and executive leaders who think it is really impressive and shows great confidence if someone new makes an effort to introduce themselves. If the people in power remember who you are then it is only going to stand you in good stead when you could be useful to them in the future.

5. Volunteer for any committees available 
Some companies are really good and have a number of internal groups in place to help organise some of the non-work related activities. It could be anything from a social committee who plan the monthly drinks, or a volunteering and charity committee who sort out your team bonding days off-site. Joining these committees look great to anyone above you as you're putting yourself out there to benefit other people in the company, whilst also giving you an easy opportunity to meet new people and make a name for yourself.

6. Try not to be late
Sometimes it is unavoidable and you'd hope that people would be understanding if your train was cancelled or your pipes burst at home. However, if it's possible then set that alarm a little bit earlier, grab a cup of tea on the way in, and make it a bit more leisurely. I found that it actually helped to cure any morning anxieties about the day ahead, and I felt proud of myself for walking in and sitting down at my desk with 5 minutes to spare (especially as I'm a typically late person).

7. Try and define success with your manager
Often a manager will have an idea of when they'd like to assess your work and how you're getting on, however, they aren't always vocal about that unless you ask. Within the first month, I think it can be very positive to ask your line manager when they think they would want to define the success criteria expected of you in the role. Probationary periods tend to last anything between one to three months, so you might as well be working towards something rather than just hoping that what you're doing is good enough to be seen as useful.

8. Prioritise your sleep
This might seem like a super obvious thing to say, but when I was younger I used to take my sleep for granted! I'd be out all the time, surviving on 6 hours sleep and rocking up at work the next day fresh as a daisy. But in your first month at work, you are physically and mentally exhausted from the long days and overload of information, so you need to understand that you will never be as productive as you'd like to be if you're lacking in the sleep department. A good 8 + hours a night during that first month will 100% help to put you in the best position for taking in information and meeting new people.

9. Find networks in your industry
It shows great initiative to seek out opportunities outside of your workplace to network with other people in your industry. It not only makes you look like you're demonstrating initiative, but it's also really good for you to understand about life outside of your company. Networking groups tend to create events or workshops that are useful from a career point of view, but also fun and more lighthearted than anything your organisation might put on. Well worth checking out LinkedIn or MeetUp for anything that could be good to attend.

10. Be gentle with yourself

It's really easy to go full steam ahead when you start somewhere new. You're incredibly keen to impress everyone, be liked, and do well at the jobs asked of you as well - which is quite frankly, exhausting. Everyone needs a reality check here, as more times than not, it is impossible to achieve all of that throughout your first month. You will do things wrong, you will ask stupid questions, and you will have people who don't treat you how you deserve. The main thing you can control in any of those situations is your own reaction to it, so be gentle with yourself. After all, tomorrow is a new day, and if you like the organisation you're in, then you'll have the opportunity to shine for years to come.

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